A response to Nathaniel Lee's "The Work That Must Be Done" post in Mirror Shards.
"Why ain't you like Mangy Sue?" Chalice stared into Corkscrew Chester's unblinking glass eyes.
Chester balanced along the footboard of Chalice's bed stepping over the matted fur of the cocker spaniel's stuffed ear draped over the footboard where Chalice had thrown Sue earlier. Was Chalice old enough? It wasn't that long ago, the memories lingering.
In the factory that makes teddy bears, Chester rode the conveyor belt past the painters wearing white frocks over yellow and red polkadotted bowties. With a wink, the painter dabbed color on Chester's cheeks. Smiling, Chester twirled to end on his rump as the belt conveyed him through a dark tunnel shaking with ratchets. A yelp echoed down the tunnel. Fear fluffed Chester's fur. Fleeing towards the painters, Chester tripped over Elise's outstretched bearclaw. The belt jounced him so that he lay on his back staring up at Elise's smiling face as they rode into a white-walled room, barely large enough for the wrinkled man who reached down with one hand to pick up Elise and with the other hand bring down the hammer. Elise froze, a smile on her lips.
The man reached down his liver-spotted hands, the impossibly long fingers stretching towards Chester. What did the hammer bring? Chester hopped backwards, his toes slipping over the edge of the belt and he flung his hand out grasping an edge. He felt the man's papery fingers, and he let go falling to bounce off the floor.
Running to the wall, the man pressed a red button that stopped the conveyor belt as a klaxon sounded. Covering his ears, Chester ran for the far tunnel.
"What's the hold up?"
"One of the dang Bears got away from me."
"You know we can't afford to stop the line. They'll catch it in quality control."
The klaxon stopped blaring and Chester dropped his hands from his ears as the conveyor belt started again. He held himself still.
No, she wasn't ready yet. Chester mused.